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HERFORUM  February 2012

HERFORUM February 2012

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Subject:

Re: HER Charges

From:

Mike Shaw <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Issues related to Historic Environment Records <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Feb 2012 15:53:08 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Of course the other thing you may have to factor in in the future is the possible non-availability of HER data for those areas whose local authority have terminated their archaeological provision

It would be interesting to know if you have encountered this problem as yet or if you do so in the future.

Yours with the glass half empty

Mike

  

Mike Shaw
City Archaeologist
Wolverhampton City Council
Civic Centre
Wolverhampton
WV1 1RP
e-mail [log in to unmask]
Tel: 01902 555493
-----Original Message-----
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Paul Cripps
Sent: 09 February 2012 15:03
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: HER Charges

Worms indeed...
Not wishing to throw in more worms, and any names below have been changed to protect the innocent, but...
It would be great if a national policy could be implemented. Currently there is enormous variation in what HER/SMRs charge, for what and also what they can supply. Some do not charge, some charge nominal fees to cover costs, some charge hundreds of pounds (!), some charge additional fees on top for licenses to use the data supplied. 
At the same time, the nature of the information supplied is incredibly variable. This ranges from well structured digital data (GIS, tabular, XML) requiring minimal handling to some unstructured information in a pdf or word document, possibly even a jpg, requiring considerable manual handling. 
Timescales for supplying information also vary considerably, up to many weeks in some cases which for rapid turnaround projects is problematic. 
So, as an end user, we have to factor in the up front costs levied by each HER/SMR for conducting a query (= highly variable), any additional costs (eg for licensing; again variable) plus time taken this end to turn the information provided into something useable for assessment/analysis/reporting ( = highly variable, dependent on what is supplied). 
A national Service Level Agreement (SLA) type approach could provide a level playing field against which contractors could operate. It could define:
* What data can/should be provided and in what format (GIS + MidasXML would seem logical, leveraging existing standards)
* Timescales in which a response can be expected including options for fast track searches
* Costs and associated licensing, VAT-ability, etc

Now, really not wishing to put cat amongst pigeons but...
It has also been noted here that the HER/SMRs who are less capable of providing structured data are also often those who take longer and charge more... Perhaps indicative of how the HER/SMR operates, with those operating more functional systems being able to respond quicker with more useable output for end users and hence lower costs due to it taking less time to deal with enquiries...? 

I would welcome the thoughts of the forum on the idea of some nationally agreed standards. 

Kind regards,
Paul.


Paul Cripps
Geomatics Manager
Wessex Archaeology
Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, SP4 6EB
Mob: +44 7765 226746 Tel: +44 1722 326867 [log in to unmask] http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics


-----Original Message-----
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Roderick Millard
Sent: 09 February 2012 14:11
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: HER Charges

As it was explained to me, we are charging for a service, which is measured by the hour (or half hour) - it could just as easily be charged at a flat rate, or measured by search area (as FEPs are - and those we know ARE VATable). 

VAT always goes to central government, but it is only ever charged once - so if we provide a service to a private individual, the VAT should be charged by the council; however, if we provide a service to a VAT registered company (such as a commercial archaeology unit) the search is recorded by them as expenses and VAT is applied to their final bill to the client, which includes those expenses. Alternatively, small companies can pay the VAT on our invoice and reclaim it against the VAT payable on their final bill; either way, central government only gets to take it once!

Rod Millard

Historic Environment Record Officer
Planning and Transport Development
Bath and North East Somerset Council
PO Box 5006
Bath BA1 1JG

Tel: 01225 477653
Fax: 01225 477663

Email: [log in to unmask]

Web: www.bathnes.gov.uk/environmentandplanning/Archaeology/Pages/SitesAndMonumentsRecord.aspx

Office Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 9:30am - 4:30pm

________________________________________
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of David Evans [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 09 February 2012 13:51
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: HER Charges

The VAT goes to central Government not to local Government. We are not charging for information but for time which I am told, but do not believe, is VATable!

David Evans
Historic Environment Record Officer
(Postal Address)
Strategic Planning Policy & Specialist Advice Department of Environment and Community Services PO Box 2081 The Council Offices, Castle Street Thornbury South Gloucestershire
BS35 9BP
Phone: 01454 863649
fax:       01454 864473

-----Original Message-----
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Roderick Millard
Sent: 09 February 2012 11:35
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: HER Charges

Can open, worms everywhere.

As part of the service review across the planning department last year we were told to peg HER searches to the same rate as pre-app consultations from the Building Conservation Officers - which puts them at 50+VAT per hour. However, as most of our chargeable searches are for commercial units (who are VAT registered) they don't pay it anyway, and it's charged on THEIR final bill, not ours...
________________________________________
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hancox, Emma (Archaeology) [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 09 February 2012 10:44
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: HER Charges

Dear All,
Is there going to be an update to the document regarding charging for HE advice/searches that was produced a few years ago?  I seem to remember it being mentioned at the HER forum in December, but maybe I'm wrong.  Will it include advice on whether we should be charging VAT for searches and FEPs?   Our legal team view them as 'VATable', so we charge VAT, but I know this varies across the country and it does seem to annoy some of our customers that they have to pay us more.  It would make sense to have a national policy on whether we should all charge VAT or not.  Can we get a statement from HMRC? Or is there one now?
Regards,
Emma

Emma Hancox
Historic Environment Policy and Advisory Manager Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service Woodbury, Henwick Grove, University of Worcester
WR2 6AJ
Telephone: 01905 855474.
Website:  www.worcestershire.gov.uk/archaeology

WAAS is moving to The Hive.  The Hive opens Summer 2012 www.wlhc.org.uk<http://www.wlhc.org.uk> and will bring together a fully integrated public and University library, The Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service and Worcestershire Hub Customer Service Centre.
The HER and Advisory Sections of WAAS will be closed to the general public from March 5th until Summer 2012 while we move to the new premises.  During this period we will continue to provide advice and information via email and telephone as normal.  Where available, sources referenced in Briefs and HER Searches will be emailed on request.  It will not be possible to visit the HER or our library.





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considered personal unless there is a specific statement to the contrary.

If you have received this email in error you may not take any action based on it, nor should 

you copy or show this to anyone; please reply to it and highlight the error to the sender, 

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The provision of links to Web sites which are not part of the Bath & North East Somerset 

Council domain are provided for convenient information sharing purposes. The Council is not 

responsible for the reliability of these links, or the information provided, and it is not 

intended to imply endorsement of the site.

Subscribe to Inform - the free weekly e-newsletter from Bath & North East Somerset Council 

Click http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/inform3 

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